The Lapse

Heaven Ain't Happenin'

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The second album from Chris Leo and Toko Yasuda, former members of the Van Pelt, is pretty much what anyone familiar with Leo should expect. The usual sparse musical arrangements and soft-spoken vocals heard on past projects permeate the album, and occasionally Yasuda takes over and lets out her own playful blast of inspired whispers and screams. Cryptic as ever, one would be hard-pressed to understand exactly what Leo is ever really trying to convey. Nevertheless, Lapse has the ability to put a strange hold on listeners. Some of the tracks' haunting arrangements seem like a glimpse into the duo's private lives, and others, including "Dragonflies," make Leo's plaintively yelped phrases seem so desperate that not listening could personally offend him. Another surprising track comes in the form of the Portishead sound-alike, "Fruit," a track on which these two prove that they have the ability to branch out in a surprising number of new directions. Heaven Ain't Happenin' is clearly a very personal album, but it also carries a great deal of raw power, and the recording itself is a fairly stripped down sound that only seems to emphasize the emotion of the songs. Lapse has yet to put out the record that firmly establishes them, but this collection is another step in the right direction towards a goal that seems to be getting much closer.

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